About the Author
Joseph N. Molina III
Legislative Services Director
The Kansas Legislature will officially close shop on June 1, sine die. Normally this is a simple formality run by a skeleton crew of legislators and staff. However, this year there may be some significant work done relating to transgender individuals and public restrooms. Several conservative lawmakers would like to pass a resolution on the last day of the session. The matter of transgender individuals’ access to public restrooms that match their gender identify was discussed early this year, but it failed to move through the legislative process. See: http://bit.ly/245REFb.
In May, the governor did sign a few pieces of legislation that will affect the practice of law in Kansas. For instance, Gov. Brownback approved of Sen Sub for HB 2112 that amends and recodifies the Kansas Business Combinations with Interested Shareholders Act, defining key terms and prohibiting corporations from engaging in any business combination with any interested stockholder for three years following the time such stockholder became an interested stockholder, and makes other updates to the entire code.
The governor also signed off on House Sub for SB 128 which requires applicants for admission to practice law to provide the following information: name, place of residence, date of birth, sex, and the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number or the person’s full driver’s license or non-driver identification card number. A pending applicant must notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court (Clerk) in writing of any change in name or address within ten days of such change. The bill requires any person whose application is pending as of the effective date of the bill to provide the correct information required above to the Clerk within 60 days of the effective date of the bill, and requires the Clerk to send notice of this requirement within 30 days of the effective date. This roster of licensed attorneys will be used to receive and cast ballots for lawyer members of the supreme court nominating commission. These elections will be administered by the Kansas Secretary of State’s Office.
To view all the other bills approved and set to become law on July 1, please visit the following links:
After sine die, the legislature will close the lawmaking portion of the year and jump immediately into the election season. We have already seen a number of ads and postcards aimed at the Kansas Supreme Court, and the Kansas GOP passed a resolution to non-retain four justices (Nuss, Luckert, Biles and Beier). The supreme court seats up for retention election are held by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, Justice Marla Luckert, Justice Carol Beier, Justice Daniel Biles and Justice Caleb Stegall. If retained, a justice serves for six years prior to the next retention election. Judges Steve Leben, Joseph Pierron, David E. Bruns, G. Gordon Atcheson, Karen Arnold-Burger and Kathryn Gardner hold the appeals court seats up for retention election in 2016. If retained, an appeals court judge serves for four years prior to the next retention election. Outside of the presidential race, the retention election vote looks to be the most intriguing of the lot.
However, all 165 Kansas legislative seats are up for election and with the large amount of retirements from office or individuals not seeking re-election we could see a swing towards the political center. The candidate list has grown significantly this last few weeks.
Here is an updated list for the Kansas Secretary of State’s website. http://www.kssos.org/elections/elections_upcoming_candidate_display.asp
Interestingly, Kansas voter turnout over the last four presidential election cycles runs nearly 16 percent higher (58.25%) than in the previous four non-presidential election years (42.9%). The last day to register to vote for the Kansas State Primary Election is July 12, 2016. The last day to vote in the general election is October 18, 2016.